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Air Fryer falafel is an easy and crispy appetizer that is not only vegan but also gluten-free. This is a quick healthy snack too.
Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern dish made from chickpeas or fava beans. The mixture is then deep-fried and served as patties or balls, usually wrapped in pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini sauce (made from sesame seeds). Here is my classic falafel and tri-color sesame falafel recipe with 3 different flavors or colors. 🙂 I love them and many very often.
Falafel is gluten-free and high in protein and fiber. This is authentically a street food in Middle Eastern countries where these falafel are used as a vegetarian alternative to meatballs. So we can treat this falafel as our vegan meatballs too. Also, these chickpea balls are high in protein. The only disadvantage was deep-frying to make them crunchy and crispy.
However, they are easy to bake in the oven too. But here we will make falafel in an air fryer. This recipe does not involve deep frying the falafel not long time taking oven-baked as well. Instead, we will coat them in oil spray before cooking them for a less greasy but still the same crispy result.
Ingredients you will need –
Garbanzo beans or chickpeas – Raw – Soak them for 8 – 10 hrs. Don’t go for canned chickpeas else it will not bind properly.
Garlic & Onion – these add so much flavor to the falafel
Cilantro leaves – Adds color and flavor to the falafel
Green Chilies – To make them spicy. Decide your quantity depending on how spicy you need them to be
Spices – cumin powder, red chili powder, all spices, salt, and pepper
How to make falafel in air fryer?
Soak the chickpeas
Soak the chickpeas overnight or for 8 hrs minimum. This is best made from dry chickpeas, and not with cooked or canned chickpeas. Canned chickpeas will be difficult to bind and may fall apart while cooking.
Prepare Falafel Mixture
Then in a food processor or mixer, blend it roughly to a coarse mixture with other ingredients like onion, cilantro, spices. Don’t add water during this process.
Refrigerate the mixture for 1hr and let it rest for some time. You can also keep them in the air-tight box in the refrigerator for 4 – 5 days. This is also freezer-friendly. After shaping the falafel too you can freeze it for future use.
Shape the falafel –
The next step, divide the mixture into equal portions. Grease palms and shape the mixture into balls or discs from this mixture. Preferably make smaller discs. For air frying, disc shape is too convenient (for me too). But make them in small size for best and crispy falafel. You can use a cookie cutter to shape the falafel.
Air Fry the Falafel
Preheat the air fryer at 390 F or 200 C. Then spray oil to grease the basket. Place the shaped falafel in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Don’t overlap them with each other. Now spray some oil on the falafel.
Start the air fryer at 375 F or 190 C for 12 – 15 minutes. Remove and flip the falafel carefully with help of a tong or spoon after 7 minutes.
Each air fryer cooks differently depending on its size and brand. Keep a check on the fritters. Also, small and disc-shaped falafel will get cooked faster as compared to the balls and larger-sized discs.
Tips for best falafel
Always use dry chickpeas. Soak the raw garbanzo beans for 10 – 12 hours minimum or overnight. Then strain out the beans and blend it to a paste adding other ingredients. Then keep aside the paste for 30 – 40 minutes in the refrigerator to set.
The drier the paste is, the easier it will be to make balls and fry. Otherwise, the falafel will fall apart no matter what way you cook them.
If taking canned chickpeas, you need to add flour to the falafel which may not give the same result as only chickpea ones. Or if your mixture is wetter then add a little chickpea flour till you get desired consistency.
You can scoop out the mixture, but while shaping grease your palm with oil to shape better. Can also use a cookie cutter to make shapes.
You can experiment with herbs and spices.
Add flavors like beetroot, carrots, spinach greens, pumpkin to the falafel. Check out my tri-color sesame falafel recipe.
How to Serve Falafel?
As an appetizer – This is one of the best appetizers that are naturally vegan and gluten-free. This is served best with tzatziki (vegan) or tahini dip. At times, zhoug (the spicy cilantro dip) replaces the tahini sauce also.
Serve with pita bread – Authentically these are served with pita bread and tahini. You can also use this as a stuffing for your burrito.
Serve as falafel sandwich – Place them in slices of bread with some creamy tahini or hummus spread and some coleslaw.
Make as a burger patty – Make a larger size patty and bake them in the air fryer. Place in between burger patty and serve a whole breakfast.
Here I have made a dip of avocado cilantro lime dressing and trust me this is also too awesome as a dip with these falafels.
Recipe Card for Air Fryer Falafel
Air Fryer Falafel
- 400 gm garbanzo beans/ chickpeas
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves finely minced
- 2 gren chillies (optional)
- ½ – ¾ cup coriander leaves finely chopped
- salt to taste
- 1½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ – 1 tsp red chilli powder or cayenne pepper (as per taste)
- ½ tsp all spices or curry powder
- 2 tsp olive oil or cooking spray
- Soak the chickpeas for 8 hours or over night.
- Then drain out the water and keep chickpeas aside for some times.
- Put chickpeas and all other ingredients mentioned in ingredient list above (except oil) in a food processor.
- Process everything for 20 seconds. Then scrape doen the sides and blend again.
- Blend it to coarse paste till all ingredients and mixed nicely but not wet and mushy consistency.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover it with a cling wrap.
- Keep the mixture in refrigerator for 30 – 40 minutes.
- Then, take out the mixture from refrigerator.
- Divide the mixture into equal portions (lemon sized balls)
- Grease palms and make the portions into small balls.
- Press them lightly making discs. For equal shape and size, take help of a cookie cutter.
Air Fryer Falafel
- Preheat the air fryer at 400 F for 4 minutes.
- Grease the air fryer basket with help of a brush or oil sprayer.
- Place the falafel in the air fryer basket in a single layer.
- Don't overlap them with each other.
- Now spray some oil on the falafel.
- Start the air fryer at 375 F or 190 c for 12 – 15 minutes.
- Pause and flip the falafel carefully with help of a tong or spoon at around 7 minutes.
- Keep a check on the falafel and decide the crispiness and timing according to the air fryer.
- Remove once done and serve with tahini and zhoug or any dip of choice.
- Preheat the oven at 375 F. Line the baking tray with parchment paper. Now place the falafel on the tray. Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes. Flip them carefully in the midways for even cooking.